INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVE: James Hillard of HORSE MEAT DISCO Talks Grade A Organic Music

11 09 2011

James Hillard (left) and his Horse Meat Disco stable

Best to have things to get your mind off the day-to-day and what better way to do that than loose yourself in a little music and conversation, right?

Enter HORSE MEAT DISCO and their third compilation release. DAA gave you a review of it earlier this year HERE and we thought it best to follow it up with some choice thoughts from one fine stallion from the HMD collective JAMES HILLARD and some FREE downloads you can nab at the end of this post. Huzzah!

And awaaaaay we go …

DW: HORSE MEAT DISCO III evokes a certain era of music genres from its final sound that seems to have fallen away from public consciousness. The beauty of this 2-CD set is that a large percentage of it is relatively unknown but has been around for decades. What makes you gravitate to it and why do you tap it as a resource in your gigs and recorded music collections?

HMD-JH: What makes anyone gravitate towards any kind of music? Speaking on behalf of everyone in HMD this kind of music has featured in our lives in some way important. From early memories of going to clubs and parties to growing up with it as an ever-present feature of our childhood. Speaking for myself, there is something about the quality of the songwriting, arrangements and production that outstrips anything contemporary and I knew that it wouldn’t be rocket science to throw a gay party with disco records at the heart of the music policy. These records are timeless and the club’s success is testament to that.

DW: There is a slight shift through the collection of that Paradise Garage, The Saint full-on disco heyday sound to wonderful touches of early eighties synth soul. Did you find that a necessary to take listeners through both those inspirational chunks of musical eras in this collection?

HMD-JH: Well disco is a broad church and comes in many different styles. We love them all, so its only fitting that we include all the different kinds of sounds that have characterized the parties we throw on the compilation. That goes from the pre-disco soul-soaked sounds to the string lead sounds of Salsoul to the deeper 80s synth sounds all the way to house music and Nu Disco.

DW: With the collection, there are a few numbers that are contemporary acts delivering amazing music (Dmitri from Paris, Billie Ray Martin) that you merge into this set, and with good reason.

As music evolves and fuses together in this disposable time of music consumption, are there artists right now that are pushing out quality music that you want to bring to the limelight and say “WAIT A MINUTE – don’t let this act pass you by people!”

HMD-JH: Of course. It would be a mistake not to pay attention to what’s happening in the world of contemporary music, although I am often guilty of neglecting emerging artists in favor of digging for old stuff but there are some amazing producers today who are doing truly original material that of course references the past but is totally forward thinking. I’m thinking of people like Lindstrom, Prins Thomas, Todd Terje (why they are all Norwegian is anyone’s guess). But at the same time, there is so much old music that went undiscovered, but through mists of time can be brought back and appreciated. The amazing thing about such records is that they still work on the dancefloor is a way that some dance music just can’t do.

DW: If HORSE MEAT DISCO was split into its individual parts of people and challenged to create their own version of a collection in, let’s call it a battle of the pony boys, what would each one of you use as your opener? Would there be different flavors of music or eras that collectively you all combine together as Hose Meat Disco?

HMD-JH: I can’t select tracks on behalf of the other guys, but yes we all have a slightly different take on things and therefore our own individual styles and sounds we like to play.

DW: Let’s say now you’re all back together and one happy grade a prime piece of Horse Meat Disco again and then asked to be travel agents for audiophiles looking for great nights of music when they CAN’T make it to one of your gigs, where would you tell them to go in NYC? In San Francisco? In Chicago? In London? In Berlin?

HMD-JH: In NYC parties like ‘Mister Saturday Night/ Mr. Sunday are fantastic. ‘Lets Play House’ is great fun too. [I highly recommend the Spank parties here in NYC. [Their site: More: – DW]

In San Francisco there is only one! Honey Soundsystem is a MUST

I don’t really know Chicago so you’re guess is a good as mine. [the Stardust party at Berlin Nightclub is a good bet: , – DW]

London, that’s a tough one I don’t go out so much these days but everything is happening out East. Dalston Superstore is always a good bet though.

In Berlin, apart from Horse Meat Disco at Tape club, I’d have to recommend Daniel Wang’s new party Cocktail D’amour for the disco enthusiasts.

DW: When you go abroad to do your gigs, are their DJs that get your ear the way you hope folks get into your collective sound through these club nights and album collections?

HMD-JH: Is the beauty of traveling and meeting likeminded DJs and music lovers that you get turned on to new music and sure we meet a lot of local DJs who are amazing.

DW: You mention that UK music lovers are obsessed with their music. Take last month’s charts and the multi-placement of five chart entries for Amy Winehouse singles following her untimely passing. Explain why you think this dedication to music as a culture may have affected the final result of your album and why the Brits feel so much closer to their sounds than other folk.

HMD-JH: That’s a tough question to answer, but I compared to the rest of Europe and the USA I think British culture has a lot of time and appreciation for black music in a way that wasn’t the case in the US outside of the black community. We’re a less segregated society and therefore the cultures are more visible to everyone and music is just a part of that. It’s more of a melting pot and well, the British like to party, get drunk/high, dance and stay out late and all this from an early age.


EXCLUSIVE DOWNLOAD: Tambi – “You Don’t Know (HORSE MEAT DISCO Remix)” A special, pumping Horse Meat Disco remix the great Paradise Garage classic, complete with signature dubby effects, organ stabs and handclaps. From HORSE MEAT DISCO III, out now on Strut Records. Full info w/photo and Soundcloud player: disco-remix.html

Download the Horse Meat Disco 30 minute DJ MINIMIX (featuring the Tambi track):



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